Football: Rochdale 0 - 0 Boston United

Date published: 02 December 2019

National League North side Boston United earned a deserved replay against Rochdale as the two sides played out a 0-0 draw in their second round tie at a freezing Crown Oil Arena.

On Sunday 1 December, the team from the sixth tier of English football defied their lowly league standing to, at times, out play their League One opponents. In a game of few clear cut opportunities, Callum Camps struck a post for Dale with Ian Henderson’s follow up chalked off for offside. The non-league side forced a couple of saves from Rochdale’s Robert Sanchez but the two sides will meet again in ten days time.

Brian Barry-Murphy’s injury crisis was made slightly better with the inclusion of Ollie Rathbone and Aaron Wilbraham on the bench. First year professional Lewis Bradley was given his first start outside of the EFL trophy competition as the Dale manager made just one change; Jimmy Keohane on the bench.

Boston, who went out of the English Football League back in 2007 were backed by nearly a thousand travelling fans from Lincolnshire and showed their worth early on when the dangerous Andi Thanoj sent a teasing ball across the face of goal that nobody in a black and amber shirt could reach for what would have been an easy tap in.

Barry-Murphy made a tactical change on the half hour mark replacing Aaron Morley with Aaron Wilbraham and the change did help Dale’s cause as they started to impose themselves on the game. His aerial presence caused the visitors problems and some good work down the left led to their first chance of the game. Callum Camps’ instinctive shot crashed back off the left hand post with Ian Henderson slotting in the re-bound only for an assistant’s flag to cut short the celebrations.

Boston started the second period much the better of the two sides and when Dominic Thewlis burst past Matty Done, the winger was only thwarted by Sanchez who blocked a shot with his chest.

Dale had claims for a penalty waived away when MJ Williams’ low shot was seemingly blocked by a hand of a defender but it would have been harsh on the non-leaguers had it been given.

The home side pushed forward as the game wore on but were restricted to shots from distance. Norrington-Davies’ effort from 35 yards being tipped over by Peter Crook in the Boston goal.

The visitors best chance came with just two minutes left of the 90 when Thewlis again powered through the Dale defence only for his goal bound shot to deflect off Camps and just wide of the right hand post.

Dale had a glorious chance to win it deep into stoppage time when the usually ever reliable Ian Henderson squandered his best chance of the game. Ollie Rathbone’s driven shot wasn’t dealt with by Crook in the Boston goal and when the ball looped up into the air, Henderson jumped unchallenged but somehow headed horribly over from just three yards out.

It would have been harsh on Boston who thoroughly deserved their replay. As for Rochdale, improvements are needed if they are to overcome their lower league opposition in ten days.


Rochdale: Sanchez, Matheson, O’Connell, Norrington-Davies, Done, MJ Williams, Morley (Wilbraham 32),  Pyke (Tavares 78), Camps, Bradley (Rathbone 58), Henderson ©
Substitutes: (not used) Lynch, Keohane, Gillam, Hopper

Boston: Crook, Duhaney, Bird, Shiels ©, Whittle, Thanoj (Wafula 75), Abbott, Platt, Thewlis (Wright 79), Rollins, Knowles (Tuton 90)
Substitutes: (not used) Willis, Jackson, Ainge, Byrne

Referee: Mr D Whitestone
Assistants: Mr I Dudley & Mr R Woodward
Fourth Official: Mr S Mather

Attendance: 2,583 (926 from Boston)

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